Donnie Brasco (1997)

Directed by Mike Newell

STARRING Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Michael Madness, Anne Heche

I recently saw this film again and I have to say it is one amazing movie. The story is based on the real FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone’s undercover work as he infiltrated the Bonanno crime family. Pistone worked undercover for six years and this film tells the story. 

The agent undercover name was Donnie Brasco and he was known as a jeweler. Through his work as a jeweler, he meets Benjamin “Lefty” Ruggiero and he decides to tutor Donnie in the ways of the mafia. Donnie has to balance his life undercover with his wife and kids. He begins to act like them as he is torn with what will happen to “Lefty” when he is pulled by the FBI. This is because they formed a friendship and he cared for him.    

They changed a few things for the movie but it worked. I like that the main element of drama is the fact that Brasco cares for Lefty and the fear of what they might do to him was affecting him. There is the drama normal for undercover cop movies such as trying to protect his identity, but the real center of the film is the relationship between Lefty and I Pistone. 

When the movie came out Depp received praised for his performance and it was well deserved. But the best performance came from Al Pacino. I believe he deserved at least an Oscar nomination.  He was able to show the character’s frustrations and how he cared for his young friend. Johnny Depp was also brilliant in this film. He was able to take un on the journey and show how he slowly changed to become more like them. The rest pf the actors that were part of the “family” were all very good. 

This is a highly recommended film. If you still have not seen it rent it.  

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